“Turn Your Home Into a Rental House” is 2013 National Best Book Award Winner

November 17th, 2013

I’m pleased to announce that the book that Angy and I recently authored:

“Turn Your Home Into a Rental House, Instead of Selling It!” is the winner of the 2013 USA Best Book Award: Real Estate Category. Here is a link to the contest web page.

       


 

 

 

 

 

The USA Book News Press Release:

For Immediate Release
November 2013
Contact: USA Book News
E-mail USA Book News

 USA BOOK NEWS

ANNOUNCES

WINNERS AND FINALISTS

OF

BEST BOOK AWARDS

MAINSTREAM & INDEPENDENT TITLES SCORE TOP HONORS

in the 10th ANNUAL USA BEST

BOOKS AWARDS

LOS ANGELES –USABookNews.com, the premier online magazine featuring mainstream and independent publishing houses, announced the winners and finalists ofTHE 2013 USA BEST BOOKS AWARDS on November 14, 2013. Over 400 winners and finalists were announced in over 100 categories. Awards were presented for titles published in 2012 and 2013. Jeffrey Keen, President and CEO of USA Book News, said this year’s contest yielded over 1500 entries from mainstream and independent publishers, which were then narrowed down to over 400 winners and finalists. 

Highlights include the following Award-Winning Titles: (Fll results listing available on USABookNews.com)

Animals/Pets: General

Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals by Con Slobodchikoff, PhD
St. Martin’s Press
978-0-312-61179-8

Autobiography/Memoirs

IMPOSSIBLE ODDS: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six by Anthony Flacco with Jessica Buchanan & Erik Landemalm
Atria Books/Simon & Schuster
978-1-4767-2516-1

Business: Real Estate

Turn Your Home into a Rental House Instead of Selling It by Terry Sprouse and Angy Sprouse
Planeta Books LLC.
0978-1-979-85665-5

Children’s Picture Book: Hardcover Fiction

In the Beginning: Moral Tails in an Immoral World (Maurice’s Valises) by J.S. Friedman, illustrations by Chris Beatrice
Mouse Prints Press
978-9491613036

Keen says of the awards, now in their eleventh year, “The 2013 results represent a phenomenal mix of books from a wide array of publishers throughout the United States. With a full publicity and marketing campaign promoting the results of the USA Best Book Awards, this year’s winners and finalists will gain additional media coverage for the upcoming holiday retail season.”

Winners and finalists traversed the publishing landscape: St. Martin’s Press, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, John Wiley & Sons, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hay House, Llewellyn Worldwide, Thomas Dunne Books, Oxford University Press, American Cancer Society and hundreds of independent houses contributed to this year’s outstanding competition.

Keen adds, “Our success begins with the enthusiastic participation of authors and publishers and continues with our distinguished panel of industry judges who bring to the table their extensive editorial, PR, marketing, and design expertise.”

USABookNews.com is an online publication providing coverage for books from mainstream and independent publishers to the world online community.

A complete list of the winners and finalists of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards are available online athttp://www.USABookNews.com.

 

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7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

August 11th, 2013

 

Bob Schmidt, Radio Host “Extraordinaire”

I was interviewed last Tuesday about my book, Turn Your Home into a Rental House, by Bob Schmidt of WLFN 1490 AM, Onalaska, WI.

Bob is one of my favorite radio show hosts. He asks good questions, he laughs at my little jokes, and he keeps the whole interview light hearted and fun. Here is a link to that interview (my interview begins at the 16:50 minute mark.)

I was also on his show in 2009 to promote, Fix em Up, Rent em Out. That was one of my very first radio interviews. After the show I called Bob to ask him if he had any advice for me on how to promote my book.

In my “radio interview notebook” I still have the written notes of what he told me. Here they are, verbatim.

Bob Schmidt Book Promo Advice

1.) To book guest appearances call the radio show after hosts are off the air, and talk to the producer or the host. They  don’t respond to email. They want to hear your voice.

2.) Tell them you are the author of a book and succinctly describe “the hook,” or how his/her listeners will benefit from you being on the show.

3.) Make sure you get the host/producer name correct. They are very egotistical and will be insulted if you get it wrong.

4.) During the interview be entertaining and provide helpful information.

5.) Call local TV producers, say I am a local author, and I am fixing up houses. They can film the process.

6.) Contact newspaper home sections.

7.) Fix your website. Put a chapter from the book on it, or provide a prominent link to Amazon where they can get more information about your book.

Why I Like Radio

Radio has been an important component of my book promotion plan.

I use three different ways to reach people, like a three legged stool. One way is the internet, but believe it or not, not every is on the internet. A second way is by giving speeches to groups and organizations. The third way is by radio. It takes all three legs to hold up the stool.

Radio is great because radio shows have time they need to fill, and they guests are one way to do that. It’s fun to be interviewed and you can reach huge audiences from the comfort of your living room. In addition, when a host likes you they invite you back to their show.

Since I started doing radio shows in 2009, I have appeared on 50 shows (and 2 television shows). So far, I have sold 3,300 copies ($45,000 in sales) of my books.

To put things in perspective, my friend Joe Sabah has been on over 700 radio shows, and has sold 23,750 copies of his books.

As I like to say, Joe and I together have sold over 27,000 books.

 

Upcoming “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House ” Radio Interviews (most shows can be heard  on the internet)

Wednesday, August 14th, at 9:15 am (eastern), I’ll be on Dave Kelber’s show, WRNJ Radio, Hackettstown, NJ. http://wrnjradio.com (to listen live).

Watch this space for information on additional interviews.

What to do When Struck by a Bolt of Inspiration

August 7th, 2013

Do your remember that last time you were tied up in knots because you were facing an overwhelming problem?

Then, out of the blue, at 4:00 in the morning, you wake up and the answer to your problem flashes into your mind.

The  really interesting question is, how do you respond to this epiphany? By immediately acting on this inspiration, or ignoring it as fanciful, or not practical, and letting the idea fade from your memory?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within,”  and “abide by that spontaneous impression” even if the whole world is against you.

While we may under-value this great source of inspiration, there are people who have held onto it with every bit of strength that they have, and that has made all the difference in their lives.

Philippe Petit

The Artistic Crime of the Century

On August 7, 1974, Phillippe Petit rigged a wire between New York City’s World Trade Center Twin Towers and walked back and forth across the 200 foot distance between the world’s tallest buildings eight times before he was arrested. He was almost one mile (1,400 feet)  above the ground, walking on a 3/4 inch wire.

Policemen  sent to apprehend Petit were so awed by the scene unfolding before their eyes  that  instead of arresting him they watched in amazement. One policeman said, “We thought we’d never see anything like this again in our lifetime.”

The “artistic crime of the century” took six years of planning. Petit made several trips to New York for first hand observations. He built a scale model of the towers in France to practice on.

But, as fantastic as the actual feat is, of more interest is how did Petit come by this stupendous obsession?

Petit discovered the World Trade Center in 1968 when he saw an artist’s rendition of the yet-to-be-built structure in a magazine while sitting in the waiting room of his dentist’s office. Petit was mesmerized by the drawing, and from that moment, tightrope walking between the two twin towers became his life obsession.

He never thought, “how much is this going to cost” or “will this take too much time.” He only thought, “I’m going to do it.”

Will Rogers

I Never Met a Man I Didn’t Like

Will Rogers was the single most popular and beloved man of his era. The inscription on his tombstone reads, “I never met a man I didn’t like.”

Rogers was raised in Claremore, Oklahoma. He worked as a ranch hand and became very good at roping and rope tricks. Because of his magical skills with the rope, he was hired by the owner of a traveling group of entertainers to perform his rope tricks.

While Will was extremely talented, and had many dazzling tricks, he did the show in complete silence. His show was entertaining but he was not one of the top attractions.

What changed Will Rogers from silent rope tricks to international fame as the “Cowboy Philosopher”?

According to his wife, Betty Rogers, the turning point in his career came one night when he was attempting one of his most difficult rope tricks of jumping through the lariat with both feet. This particular night, he only got one foot through the rope, instead of two. The other foot got tangled in the rope. He was embarrassed and made the off-the-cuff remark, ” Well, I got all my feet through the rope, except one.” The audience exploded in laughter.

Betty said, when that happened a light came on in Will’s mind.

From then on, in each performance, Will purposely failed when doing that trick, and each time his funny comment brought the house down.

Will began to include more off-the-cuff humor into his act, and the manager of the show asked Will to introduce the other acts and make humorous comments in the process. His fame grew. He went on to host radio shows, wrote daily newspaper columns, and at the time of his death in 1935, he was the highest paid actor in Hollywood.

Robert Frost

Miles to Go Before I Sleep

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

This is the final stanza  from Robert Frost’s most beloved poem, “Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

Frost wrote hundreds of poems but this one is considered his masterpiece.

What inspired Frost to write these haunting words?

Frost said that he had been up all night writing a long poem and had finally finished when he opened the front door and realized it was morning. He went out to view the sunrise and, and in his words, he suddenly got the idea to write the poem “as if I’d had a hallucination” and wrote it  in just “a few minutes without strain.”

Phillippe Petit, Will Rogers, and Robert Frost, all embraced their bolt of inspiration.

They accepted it without fear or hesitation, allowed it to take over their lives.

Think about this the next time you are in your dentist’s office and pick up a magazine to read.

Upcoming “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House ” Radio Interviews (most shows can be heard  on the internet)

Wednesday, August 14th, at 9:15 am (eastern), I’ll be on Dave Kelber’s show, WRNJ Radio, Hackettstown, NJ. http://wrnjradio.com (to listen live).

Watch this space for information on additional interviews.

When to Hire a House Inspector – Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

July 31st, 2013

 

This morning I was interviewed by the masterful interviewer, Rich Peterson (KROC Radio 1340 AM, Rochester, Minnesota), about my book “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House Instead of Selling It!”

I was also on Rich’s show a couple of years ago to promote my earlier magnum opus “Fix em Up Rent em Out.”

Today, Rich asked the question,

“Does the city have to  inspect a house before you can rent it out?”

My answer was,

“No the city doesn’t do inspections unless you have constructed a guest house, or added or room, or make some major modification to the property. You must comply with building codes, but if you don’t make any changes, the city is not involved.”

When to Hire an Inspector

While there is not need for the city to do an inspection, prior to purchasing a new home, it’s critically important to hire your own inspector to make sure that everything is “operational” in the house that you want to purchase.

Usually, the owner has to fill out a “disclosure” form that informs you of any existing problems that the house has, that he or she is aware of . Sometimes, owners will have a report available by an inspector that they hired to inspect the property.

Even in that case, you still need to hire your own inspector. It may sound like a case of “dueling inspectors,” but I like to have a report written by the guy that is representing me, not the guy who is representing the seller.

Hiring a good inspector is especially important when you are purchasing a foreclosed property, where there is usually no owner present. Then, the only thing you have to make your decision about the condition of the house is the inspector’s report.

Tid Bits: NBA Trivia and Unwise Career Moves

1st NBA Basket

Prior to my interview with Rich, I was listening to his radio show and I learned that the first basket scored in the NBA was by Oscar “Ossie” Schectkman, who recently passed away at age 94.

I also learned:

4 Things that People do to Help their Career that Actually Hurts Their Career.

1. Staying too long with the same company. Employers wonder why you haven’t changed.

2. Being too good at something you don’t like doing, because you’ll be hired to do it more and more.

3. Keeping your mouth shut. You should tell supervisors before they make mistakes. You may get fired, but improves your status under point #1.

4. Putting in a recommendation for a friend. If the friend is a failure, it reflects badly on you.

As Rich Peterson says, “We’ll’ see you down by the riverside.”

 

Upcoming “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House ” Radio Interviews (most shows can be heard  on the internet)

Tuesday, August 6th, at 8:10 am (central time), I’ll be on Bob Schmidt’s show, WLFN 1490 AM, Onalaska, WI.

Tuesday, August 6th, at 9:40 am (eastern), Greg O’Conner will interview me, WKHM 970 AM, Jackson, MI.

Wednesday, August 14th, at 9:15 am (eastern), I’ll be on Dave Kelber’s show, WRNJ Radio, Hackettstown, NJ.

Watch this space for information on additional interviews.

Getting Rid of Bad Tenants

July 27th, 2013

 

Don’t’ rent to these guys!

On my Friday interview on the David Sutton radio show (KRSN AM 1490, Los Alamos, NM), David’s co-host Nancy asked me about one of the common fears of people who would like to own rental houses.

Can’t Get Rid of Tenants? 

She said,

“Once you have tenants in your rental house, even if you want to, you can’t get rid of them for at least one year.”

My response was,

“That’s not exactly right. The tenants may have signed a lease for one year, but that doesn’t give them a free pass to do anything they want to in your property. If they violate the contract (by not paying the rent, disturbing the neighbors, doing auto mechanics in the front yard, etc.), then regardless of how long the lease is for, you can remove them.

The bad news is, they can fight you in court if they don’t agree that they violated the contract.”

Month-to-Month Lease -The Bain of Bad Tenants 

The approach that my wife and I take to avoid extended, and costly, legal fights, is to have all of our tenants on a month-to-month lease. This allows us to scrape off bad tenants like barnacles. All we have to do is to notify them that we are canceling the lease, and they have to be out in 30 days. There’s no fuss, no going to court, easy as pie.

I thought that tenants might balk at having to sign a month-to-month lease, rather than having a long-term one, but every one just accepts it as normal. I explain to them that the advantage for a month-to-month is that it protects both the tenant and the landlord. If they are not happy in our rental house, we prefer that they leave.

We Remove a Bad Tenant 

My wife and I have only had to evict tenants once in our 12 years in this business.

The police informed us that they had the people in one of our rental house under surveillance for drugs because a lot of people were coming and going at odd hours. That was the final straw, since they weren’t model tenants anyway. We canceled their month-to-month contract and they left without any objection.

As we do with all tenants, we gave them a “Move Out Information Letter” describing the steps of the moving out process, which they followed.

Our Fondest Desire: Long Term Tenants 

Of course, our objective is to keep good tenants in our properties into eternity. (We’re exploring options to keep them as tenants, even in the afterlife!)

We don’t want them to ever leave, and we will bend over backwards to keep them happy. That’s how money is made in this business, by having good long term tenants.

We lose money when we have a lot of tenants move in and out, and the unvarnished truth is, we  do like to turn a profit.

 

Upcoming “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House ” Radio Interviews (most shows can be heard  on the internet)

Wednesday, July 31, at 8:15 (central time), I’ll be interviewed by Rich Petersen, KROC 1340 AM, Rochester, MN.

Tuesday, August 6th, at 8:10 am (central time), I’ll be on Bob Schmidt’s show, WLFN 1490 AM, Onalaska, WI.

Tuesday, August 6th, at 9:40 am (eastern), Greg O’Conner will interview me, WKHM 970 AM, Jackson, MI.

Wednesday, August 14th, at 9:15 am (eastern), I’ll be on Dave Kelber’s show, WRNJ Radio, Hackettstown, NJ.

Watch this space for information on additional interviews.

Do government regulations inhibit landlords from selecting good tenants? – Radio Interview with Dan Ramey

July 22nd, 2013

 

In my interview last Friday with the inimitable Dan Ramey (at WBEX 1490 AM in Chillicothe, Ohio) to discuss “Turn Your Home into a Rental House,” he asked the question,

“Do government regulations make it difficult when it comes to selecting good tenants?”

My answer was,

“all landlords and owners are required to comply with the Fair Housing Act. The Act prohibits discrimination based on race, creed, color, disability, among other things. We don’t find compliance with the Act an onerous requirement.  To us, it’s only fair that all tenants should get equal treatment.

The Fair Housing Act does not tie our hands when we select tenants because we can still base our tenant decisions on relevant factors, such as:

1.) Does the tenant have enough income to afford the rent;

2.)  Are their personalities compatible with ours;

3.) Do we think they will take good care of our house; and,

4.) Have they been good tenants in the past;

In short, we screen our tenants carefully, and we’ve only had to remove a tenant one time during our 12 years in this business. Government regulations don’t interfere with our tenant selection process.”

Here is the link to my complete interview with Dan Ramey.

 

Upcoming “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House ” Radio Interviews (most shows can be heard  on the internet)

On Thursday, July 25th, at 7:10 a.m. (central time) I’ll be on Jeff Anderson’s show, KSDR 1480 AM, Watertown, South Dakota.

On Friday , July 26th, at 7:30 am (mountain time) I have an interview with David Gillian, KRSN 1490 AM, Los Alamos, NM.

Wednesday, July 31, at 8:15 (central time), I’ll be interviewed by Rich Petersen, KROC 1340 AM, Rochester, MN.

Tuesday, August 6th, at 8:10 am (central time), I’ll be on Bob Schmidt’s show, WLFN 1490 AM, Onalaska, WI.

Wednesday, August 14th, at 9:15 am (eastern), I’ll be on Dave Kelber’s show, WRNJ Radio, Hackettstown, NJ.

Watch this space for information on additional interviews.

Will Rogers’ Secret of Seizing Opportunities

July 17th, 2013

“It was not so much that Will sought the new opening as that he never failed to seize it when it came his way.” — Betty Rogers 

It’s nice to think that we are captain’s of our own ship and masters of our own destiny. Who doesn’t want to like Captain James T. Kirk or Bill Gates?

In my own case, I know that the reason I became the person I am today is by, not so much bending life to my will, but more by taking what life handed me, and by being keenly alert when a new opportunity presented itself.

That’s the way Will Rogers found success.

As his wife Betty said in her biography of Will:

His whole career was the development and unfolding of a personality through the various vehicles that seemed to be constantly and almost miraculously presenting themselves. His comment on stage on the stage during his roping act was incidental at first, if not accidental. (Will never spoke during his Vaudeville rope trip act, except when he once made a mistake and the audience laughed at his funny excuse. From then on, he incorporated that comment, and gradually others, into his act.)

His writing came the same way. (Will wrote a regular Sunday feature for the New York Times that was syndicated throughout the U.S.) His entrance into the movies, too, was not of his own seeking  (he starred in 69 movies). But once started in these new fields, he made the most of each, giving to them the same enthusiasm and energy he had given to the rope (tricks) in the early days.

I added the comments in parentheses to the text.

Meander in the Direction that You Want to Go

I know I’ve probably said this before, at least in Fix em Up Rent em Out, but a good way to get started in real estate, particularly if your circumstances are such that it is impossible for you to start investing in real estate right away, is to just start by meandering in that direction, like a slow, gurgling stream.

You can program your mind to pay attention to anything related to real estate. Cut articles out of the newspaper, buy books at book sales, tale to friends and co-workers about it, watch for seminars and classes about real estate investing. Sometimes desire and knowledge can be acquired simply by observing someone else operating a successful business.

And, when the opportunity does present itself to get started, like Will Rogers, seize it!

 

Upcoming “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House ” Radio Interviews (most shows can be heard  on the internet)

Friday, July 19th, at 7:45 am (eastern time), I will be interviewed by Gary Sutton and Chris Tyler, at WSBA 910 AM  in York, PA.

Friday, July 19th, at 8:10 am, I’ll be on Dan Ramey’s show on WBEX 1490 AM, in Chillicothe, Ohio.

On Thursday, July 25th, at 7:10 a.m. (central time) I’ll be on Jeff Anderson’s show, KSDR 1480 AM, Watertown, South Dakota.

On Friday, July 26th, at 7:30 am (mountain time) I have an interview with David Gillian, KRSN 1490 AM, Los Alamos, NM.

Tuesday, August 6th, at 8:10 am (central time), I’ll be on Bob Schmidt’s show, WLFN 1490 AM, Onalaska, WI.

Watch this space for information on additional interviews.

“Turn your home into a rental” on Mark Wayne Show

July 13th, 2013

The Morning Blend interview

Yesterday I was interviewed by the legendary radio host, Mark Wayne, of WICH in Norwich, Connecticut about my new book “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House Instead of Selling It!”.

Check the Roof

Mark commented that the first two things he would check when buying a house would be

1.)  the roof, and;

2.) the foundation.

He doesn’t want to be stuck with these potentially big ticket expenses.

I said that those types of dangers to a real estate investor underscore the importance of having a thorough inspection of the house done prior to purchasing.

Have a Professional Inspection

Not only does a complete inspection by a professional inspector

1.)  protect you from surprise expenses, but

2.) the inspector’s written report is a good tool to help negotiation a lower price with the seller, if the inspector identifies other issues the house may have (for example, A/C, plumbing, wiring, etc.)

Television Interview Update

The Morning Blend is a nice, friendly show, with genial hosts Amanda Guralski (who is also an author) and Sally Shamrell.

I was interviewed last year on the Morning Blend show to promote my book “Carve Out Your Niche,” so I wasn’t too nervous about  Wednesday’s appearance to promote “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House.”

Where’s Angy?

Before we started filming, they asked why Angy wasn’t with me, since she co-authored the book.

I had to tell them the truth.

I said, “I tried to get her to come, but ultimately she couldn’t be on the show because of her back. It has a big yellow stripe right down the middle.”

Strangely, Angywas never nervous when  she and I have taught fixer-upper house seminars together, but she was a little anxious about appearing on television.

Like Riding a Horse

I told Angy it’s like learning to ride a horse. Isaid, “Sure, you may get bucked off a few times and maybe just break an arm or a leg, but before long, you’ll be riding that horse like the Lone Ranger!”

Maybe that wasn’t such a good analogy.

I thought the interview went okay, except that I caught myself mumbling a few times.

Blog Review of “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House.”

Thanks to Sharon at Louisville Gals Real Estate Blog  for her review of my new book.

Upcoming “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House ” Radio Interviews

Friday, July 19th, at 7:45 am (eastern time), I will be interviewed by Gary Sutton and Chris Tyler, at WSBA 910 AM  in York, PA.

Friday, July 19th, at 8:10 am, I’ll be on Dan Ramey’s showon WBEX 1490 AM, in Chillicothe, Ohio.

On Thursday, July 25th, at 7:10 a.m. (central time) I’ll be on Jeff Anderson’s show, KSDR 1480 AM, Watertown, South Dakota.

Watch this space for information on additional interviews.

“Turn Your Home into a Rental House” to be topic on “The Morning Blend”

July 8th, 2013

 

“Situations have ended differently than what I expected, but I would never consider that a failure.  A no is just a no for today, it doesn’t have to be a no for tomorrow.”

–Amanda Guralski, I Am Not a Smartie Pants

 

In my never ending (Quijotesque) quest to inform people about how to turn their home into a rental house, Wednesday, July 10th, I will be appearing on the Morning Blend television show, channel 9, sometime between 11:00 am and noon (Tucson time). For those of you not in the Southern Arizona area, the show will archive the interview on their web page.

As we discuss my (and co-author Angy’s) book, Turn Your Home into a Rental House Instead of Selling It!, one topic that will probably be discussed, is the advantages and disadvantages that are an intrinsic part of this business of renting houses.

The upsides to owning rental properties – monthly income and long-term increase in equity – are nice to have, but before jumping in it’s wise to consider the downside of the equation too. Here are some disadvantages that we like to look at as small and manageable issues rather than big obstacles.

 

  • There is work required to prepare your house to rent out;
  • Time must be spent finding and managing tenants;
  • Life is fraught with problems. Even tenants have a few.

 

In truth, these things take time to learn. Like riding a bicycle, you learn to buy, repair and manage properties, by doing it. There were times when we were just beginning our business that Angy and I were so frustrated by tenants that we wanted to throw in the towel. But, we kept on going, and we got better at it.

As Aristotle said,

“We are what we repeatedly do. Exellence is not an act but a habit.”

 

Upcoming Interviews

On Friday, July 13th, at 8:40 a.m. (eastern time) I will be a guest on Mark Wayne’s radio show, WICH 1310 AM, in Norwich, Connecticut.

On Thrusday, July 25th, at 5:08 a.m. (central time) I’ll be on Jeff Anderson’s show, KSDR 14480 AM, Watertown, South Dakota.

Watch this space for information on additional interviews.

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me about the Power of Stories

June 25th, 2013

While defending a man against an assault charge, Lincoln claimed it was more like self-defense, as in the case of a man he knew who was walking down the road with a pitchfork and was attacked by a very fierce dog. In trying to ward off the dog’s attacks he stuck the prongs f the pitchfork into the animal and killed him. According to Lincoln, the dialogue that followed went like this:

“What made you kill my dog?” said the farmer.

“What made your dog try to bite me?” the man answered.

“But why didn’t you go after him with the other end of your pitchfork?”

“Why didn’t he come after me with his other end?”

The jury found Lincoln’s client innocent of assault.

Lincoln’s Secretary of Treasury said, “Many of Mr. Lincoln’s stories were as apt and instructive as the best of Aesop’s Fables.”

3 Reasons to Use Stories

Lincoln used stories for many different reasons, but here are three reasons that stand out to me.

1.) Stories are tools of persuasion use to avoid provoking people.

Lincoln said, “They say I tell a great many stores and I reckon I do, but I believe that common people, are more easily informed through the medium of a broad illustration than in any other way.”

Studies show that people are more receptive to information presented as a story than if it is merely presented as a dry, unadorned, fact.

2.) Stories are an entertaining and compelling way to connect with people. Lincoln commented, “Stories are the shortest path between strangers and friends.”

Carl Schurz, a union general who first met Lincoln on a train described the meeting by saying,

“I soon felt as if I had known him all my life and we had very long been close friends. He interspersed our conversation with all sorts of quaint stories, each of which had a witty point applicable to the subject at hand.”

3.) Stories have the power to bring about change. Our stories we chose communicate a deeper meaning, our values, hopes and ideals in a way that most people can relate. They show us the difference between what is and what could be.

Plato said, “Those who tell stories rule the world.”

“I am not simply a story-teller,” said Lincoln, “It is not the story itself, but its purpose that interests me.” He didn’t force his messages on his audience, he let in unfold in their own imaginations.

Where to Get Stories

Like me, you may not be a natural born storyteller, and you might not have a treasure trove of fascinating stories to draw upon. But Lincoln said that he almost never invented stories. He told stories and jokes he remembered hearing or reading and he adapted them to fit the issue at hand.

Draw upon stories that you have personally experienced, or utilize stories that you have heard or read. Modify these stories to slip in your message instead of hitting people over the head with it.

Opportunities to Tell Stories Present Themselves

Stories proved their value to me when I spent time with my Mother during the last year of her life. She was constantly in and out of hospital and rehabilitation facilities. We were together so much that often the only thing I could think to say was to recall family stories from the past. I realized that the best way to communicate feelings and deep thoughts was through these stories.

Stories are also a useful teaching tool with my two teenage sons. I can no longer use the direct technique with them, and just say “stop doing that or you can’t watch TV!” That approach is a dead end. It would just result in an argument and hard feelings.

If I really want to mold their behavior, I talk to them when they are relaxed, like in the car, and I tell them an interesting story (at least to me) from my past experience that reflects some point that I want to make. Sometimes I wonder if my boys are really paying attention to my “rambling reminisces.” But, when they later ask me for more details about a story that I have told, I realize that maybe my story has struck a chord with them.

Stories Are More Persuasive Than Logic

At a meeting of newspaper editors, where he felt out of place, Lincoln used this story. “I feel like I did once when I met a woman riding horseback in the woods, As I stopped to let her pass, she also stopped and looking at me intently, said, ‘I do believe you are the ugliest man I ever saw.’ Said I: ‘Madam, you are probably right, but I can’t help it.’

‘No, she said, ‘you can’t help it, but you might stay at home.’ ”

And magically, after hearing the story, the reporters who were strangers became Lincoln’s  friends.

Learn from Lincoln. Stop being so logical, fact filled and practical in your communications. Dig deeper, make people laugh, cry and think by wrapping it in a compelling story. Connect to people’s hearts by the stories you tell.

Recommended readings:

How To Have The Language Intelligence Of Abraham Lincoln: ‘The Greatest Thing By far Is To Be A Master Of Metaphor’ by Joe Romm at ClimateProgress

Mr. Sandburg, speak to us! by Bill Nash at Abe’s Log Cabin.

How Abraham Lincoln mastered the art of storytelling by John Sadowsky

Lesson From Abraham Lincoln On Becoming A Great Storyteller by Jay Oza

The Power of Overlooking an Offense at Kingdom People

John Y. Brown, III: Lincoln and the Power of Story at The Recovering Politician

Is a state pension enough to support you in retirement? at Reach Financial Independence

Does Volunteering And Charitable Giving Lead To Happier Employees And Higher Profits? at Untemplater

The grocery game challenge June 24-30, 2013 #4: Fruit and vegetable preparation at Canadian Budget Binder

Do You Sneak Snacks Into The Movies? at Eyes on the Dollar

Carbs Are Killing You [Infographic] at Fearless Men

 When to be Assertive | Stop getting walked on at Fearless Men
 Choosing the Best Blog Web Hosting Sites  at Modest Money

Reader Question: 100 Boxes. How Many Would You Open? at Planting Our Pennies

CREATIVE WAYS TO MAKE MONEY IN THE EVENING at Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance